The Art of Waiting on God

Michael Beck

“Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort …” (Psalm 71:3)

There were real dilemmas that confronted the early church. There were relationship problems between members. There were conflicts and animosities. What did the apostles do? They gave themselves continually to prayer (Acts 6:4).

The huge needs we see, the impossible problems we face, should drive us into the presence of the Lord. And because problems are rarely solved overnight we must learn how to wait on God in broken dependency. To have outcomes that are pleasing in His sight we must hold things continually before Him.

David, though anointed king, declared himself weak before those who were strong and impulsive in their actions (2 Sam. 3:39) David’s life in God was different than so many others. One thing he desired and sought after: to dwell in God’s presence, beholding His beauty and enquiring of Him at all times. (Ps. 27:4) The continuous question of the broken and contrite heart is: “Oh Lord, what should I do?”

The righteous man is as bold as a lion only in so fas as he has received his Lord’s direction (Prov. 28:1). When we fall into “divers temptations” we need wisdom from above (James 1:2-5). Real tribulation astonishes us. We are filled with “groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Rom. 8:26) The Spirit must help our infirmities because we don’t know what we should pray for as we ought. He causes us to know what God’s will is in a matter. He anoints us to pray the “prayer of faith.” (James 5:15) He keeps us patiently waiting before Him and when “It is enough;” He allows us to arise and go forth to speak and act. Others may think we are idling in neutral; but we are poised to go into drive whenever the Lord says, “Go.”

The continuous question of the broken and contrite heart is: “Oh Lord, what should I do?”

Waiting on the Lord in prayer concerning a matter can takes days, weeks, months, even years. But if we so distrust ourselves to handle a matter wisely and so trust the Lord for a more blessed resolve we will be willing to give Him all the time necessary to work in a situation. We will fear to walk as a fool. We do not want to be unwise. (Eph. 5:17) Our desire is to understand what the will of the Lord is, and so we set ourselves to pray.

When Jesus was in Jerusalem He had a place of prayer where He was accustomed to go (Luke 22:39). Judas knew where it was, although he had no such place of his own. Instead of being a man of prayer, Judas was ruled by his own thoughts and emotions. Over time these built up to the place where Jesus knew he was about to burst; and so He said to His prayerless disciple: “That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:27)

The failure to wait on God has consequences. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matt. 26:41) Staying true to our Lord is impossible when we are mere natural men who operate according to our instincts and passions. We must follow the example of our Lord who continually sought His Father’s help and guidance. We must find a place of holding all things before our God. Especially when our heart is overwhelmed within us, we must be led to the Rock that is higher than we are. (Psalm 61:2) He will not disappoint us if we trust under the shadow of His wings. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.